[r63] Messmer Report: Strengthening Indiana through job creation

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, February 11, 2011

After the ice storm in Indianapolis last week we have been spending this week catching up and discussing several very key bills that would help us reach our goals of the Strengthen Indiana Plan. One of our top priorities outlined in the plan is to create jobs for Hoosiers by revitalizing hard hit communities and focusing on entrepreneurship and small businesses. A bill that I authored, along with several others, are making their way through the General Assembly to accomplish those goals.

HB 1007, which I authored, passed its third and final reading on the House floor. It will help promote job creation by giving communities the tools they need to need to attract new businesses and investments to Indiana.

There are several ways in which local communities can offer incentives. First, individual counties would have the option to exempt new investments from business personal property. Second, HB 1007 would allow municipalities to pay hiring incentives for new employment, and to utilize a point system to enhance abatement schedules for both new and existing businesses. It would also remove the sunset date on the ability of municipalities to exempt enterprise information technology.

In addition, HB 1007 would reduce the age limit for the property tax deduction for rehabilitated property from 50 years to 25 years. And finally, the bill would enhance abatement schedules to allow up to eight years of 100% abatement if the business meets on point on a list of criteria.

HB 1007 was written to help to reform personal property taxes, which is cited as a major impediment to investment by the business community, Indiana Economic Development Corporation and local economic development officials. Personal property taxes are closely looked at by companies looking to do business in Indiana, and neither Ohio nor Illinois have a personal property tax.

Our goal is to put Hoosiers back to work and to give communities the necessary tools to promote job creation. This bill will help us accomplish that goal.  HB 1007 is supported by the governor and passed out of the House this week by a vote of 94-0. It will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.

Two more bills that will help us reach our goals in the Strengthen Indiana Plan are House Bills 1005 and 1006. HB 1005 has been dubbed the dinosaur building bill. It would lower the requirements for vacant buildings so that more communities can take advantage of the tax credit. This would help communities make their vacant buildings more attractive for potential investors by providing a tax credit on the rehabilitation expenses.

HB 1006 would help encourage entrepreneurship and small business by making it easier to acquire new and existing business licenses and permits. The bill would require the Secretary of State's office to set-up a one-stop-shop website to register with state agencies. Other states, like South Carolina, have created similar sites that have been very successful and helpful to business owners.

We are working diligently to create the best business climate possible for companies to grow private sector jobs for Hoosiers, and to continue to allow Indiana to lead the way out of this recession. House Bills 1005 and 1006 were voted out of committee this week and will be heading to the House floor for second reading. I'll be sure to keep update on their progress.

As always, I welcome your feedback and opinions. You can reach me by e-mail at H63@in.gov or call 1-800-382-9841.

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Rep. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper)